About Us

The Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation was established in 2003 to help enrich the unforgettable memories and traditions you experience only at the Kansas State Fair and on the Kansas State Fairgrounds year-round.

Vision

To inspire excellence and understanding of Kansas agriculture, industry and culture through the Kansas State Fair, activities, educational programs and opportunities.

Mission

To further the renovation, construction, preservation and beautification of the Kansas State Fairgrounds. To help, assist, promote, support, maintain, enhance, endow and advance the interests of the Kansas State Fair. To encourage education of the public about the Kansas State Fair and its purpose and activities.

Why does the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation exist?

The Kansas State Fair is a self-supporting fee-fund state agency and therefore receives very, very limited state funding. Despite the fair’s long and successful history, there is a need for new funds to improve and renovate aging facilities, build new facilities and to provide education programming while retaining the Kansas State Fair traditions. The Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation, since its inception, has supported multiple projects on the Kansas State Fairgrounds. From 2005 to 2021 the Foundation raised and invested approximately $1.5M in projects, upgrades, new equipment, building improvements and renovations. These projects range widely, but all were investment in the Kansas State Fair to help beautify, renovate and preserve the fairgrounds as well as to support programs and activities of the Fair. The Foundation has often provided the resources and funds needed for those things that often go unnoticed.

A few examples of Foundation funded projects include:

  • Lair Steckline Interactive Water Fountain
  • Historic Lighting Repair & refurbishing in center lawn area
  • Legacy Benches throughout the fairgrounds
  • Established the Wall of Honor in the Prairie Pavilion
  • Big fans in the livestock barns and Prairie Pavilion
  • Walkway improvements – concrete and curbs
  • Birthing Center – pens and gates
  • KSF Information Center signage
  • Lair White House – built and furnished

The Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation Board of Directors

The Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation Board of Directors is a working and dedicated board made up of people who love the Kansas State Fair and willingly give of their time, talents, knowledge and resources for the betterment of the Kansas State Fair.  From 2003 until March 2021 the Foundation activities and fundraising were predominantly Board-driven with assistance from Kansas State Fair staff.  In March 2021, the Foundation hired their first full-time Executive Director to manage the activities of the Foundation.

2023 Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Mary McCurry Chairperson Burrton
Kate Evans Vice Chairperson Lebo
Sara Evans Secretary Lebo
Steve Dillon Treasurer Hutchinson
Brad Rayl At Large Buhler

Directors

Richard Shank Hutchinson
John Evans Lebo
West McArthur Immediate Past Chairman Salina

Kansas State Fair Board Representatives

Paula Landoll-Smith KSF Board President Marysville
Bob Atkisson KSF Board Vice President Stockton
John Leslie KSF Board Treasurer Lawrence
Grand Drive Representative
Ann Sankey Grand Drive Representative Andale

Trustees Emeritus

Jeff Deeds Goodland
Molly McVicker Hutchinson
Mary Alice Lair Chanute

Consulting Trustees

Anne Hjetland Lyons
Jamie Rutledge Wichita
Abby Miller Monument, CO
Tawnya Roenbaugh Wichita
Monica Lair Junghanis Milford
Connie Schmitt Marquette

Staff

James Fisher Executive Director Hutchinson
Patty Snyder Development Associate/Accounting Hutchinson
Hannah Beam Marketing/Branding Hutchinson
Tami Rife 1861 Club Manager Hutchinson

History

In 2000, Governor Bill Graves, who grew up in Salina and was a longtime supporter of the Kansas State Fair, signed legislation appropriating approximately $26 million for the enhancement of the fairgrounds.  It was dubbed the Master Plan and the appropriated funds were used predominantly to build the current livestock facilities and the Prairie Pavilion.  As a part of an agreement between the fair and the state of Kansas, it was suggested that Hutchinson provide funds for the updates and for continued improvement of the fairgrounds.

Soon there was talk that a foundation should be formed as a way to raise funds for the long-term support of the fair.  Hence, the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation was formed in 2003.

From 2003 until 2021, the Foundation was completely board run.  In 2021 they took a leap and hired an Executive Director, James Fisher.  This has proved to be a hugely successful move as the Foundation continues to increase revenue to support our mission to further the renovation, construction, preservation and beautification of the Kansas State Fairgrounds.

February 2024 Volunteer Spotlight: YOU! – The Future Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation Volunteer

At the heart of nearly every nonprofit is a dedicated and valued group of volunteers who make all the essential work possible. The Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation (KFF) is no different! This month, for the volunteer spotlight, we wanted to feature YOU, our future...

Introducing the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation Impact Award

Margaret Mead said, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only...

Shank’s Take: The New Impact Award and the Power of “Thanks”

No long-term event is successful without the support of dedicated volunteers who serve with no expectations of monetary gain, letters of commendation or plaques of recognition. Perhaps, no finer example of volunteerism exists than those who have stepped forward for...

We Love the Kansas State Fair!

We do what we do because we love the Kansas State Fair.
Learn about everything KSF on the Kansas State Fair Website!

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